Sunday, June 21, 2009


There are sailors and cruisers. "Cruisers" are those that sail to destinations by way of the sea, then go ashore and take in the sights, smells and taste of what the land has to offer. "Sailors" on the other hand, go out on boats simply to make it go where it genrally doesn't want to go. They spent a lot of money to do that. "Racing Sailors", are a sub-culture of the latter kind, who spent the GNP of some small country, to make the vessel go where it generally doesn't want to go, but make it go there faster. The price of "bragging rights" for doing this better than anyone else, is immeasurable and on a par with some "bail-outs". A similar concept exists in "Wine making". Good and healthy grapes, made into a good wine is an art-form. Good wine is said to be "Poetry in a Bottle". Not sure if you can get "poetry" in a cask. The Sea-grapes on the right, now growing to perfection, should also have something romantic said about them too. "Jelly in a Jar" just doesn't seem to cut it............

So, go ahead and double-click on the photo on the right. This is the "P2" mega yacht that is part of the sub-culture referred to above. The wet duck on the left, is there to balance out reality. "P2"'s mast is clearly visible above the landscape with its three story buildings at Baker's Bay on Guana Cay. We took the 'beemer' in to the Marina for a closer 'look-see'. Everything on this mega yacht is state-of-the-art engineering. The best that money can buy. The rigging screw (turn-buckle) for the backstay is as long as the fishing rod. The winches are all hydraulic or electrical. The shrouds and stays (the cables that hold up this 160 ft mast) are carbon-fibre strands wrapped in more fibre and way stronger and lighter than stainless steel, and the little white box between the two steering wheels is not a BBQ. The vinyl covered lid lifts, to expose two water-proof computer consoles. Imagine walking up to a bedraggled crewman in some dripping wet-weather gear and asking him ".... and what do you do, on board?", " Well, I'm the computer keyboard operator". All systems are computer controlled. You have to imagine the sheer size of the overlapping genoa if the mast height is 160 feet. This yacht does not use winches to pull in the genoa sheets. The carbon fibre sheets are connected to very long hydraulic rams under the deck, on either side, that pull in the tension........... and when the sail comes down, double doors open on deck, and the sail just flakes down into a bin. "See Mom, no hands!!". Despite all the technology, please note that they still use wooden clothes pins (pegs) to hang up the laundry on the life-lines. By the time we had seen the 'systems', the size of the mast, the incredible finish and finesse, we felt like 'plucked ducks'. Down below in the accommodation........ well pointless in going on about this...... The 'garage' was open at the back and the crew were busy putting the 'Rolls Royce runabout' back inside, using computer controlled winches, of course................The run-about has a jet-powered inboard engine...Press another key on the console, the garage door closes hydraulically, and 'Bob's your Uncle'.

The photo to the left, shows the bow section with a 'cruising genoa' on the fore-stay. This is the sail used for travelling, between continents, and not for racing. The two black lines on the pulley blocks are a temporary arrangement for holding the vessel off the docks. The base of the furler in the black well, is a fully automated, hydraulically operated swivel that turns the luff track to the same angle as the sail set and then further compensates for the bending of the luff track. A similar unit in front of the forestay, is used for gennikers and reachers and vertical angles are hydraulically adjusted, with the computer, of course. Time to get back into our 'miniscule' dinghy and go find 'reality'. Money may buy bragging rights, but not happiness, necessarily.

Now, for the really sad part. Corina and Joel finally left on the Green Turtle Cay ferry at 6am, to go Treasure Cay airport, to fly back to Australia. This is the end of their sailing on SVEA and the beginning of parenthood. They left SVEA in a pristine condition, having re-varnished all of the top-side woodwork. The memory of their travels will stay with them, as will about 5000 photos, and the knowledge of what sailing and cruising is all about. A flurry of wild emotions, joy and sadness, twisted together like a rope. Within a few days we will haul SVEA out of the water in Green Turtle Cay, to do re-finishing of topside and bottom, before sailing her back to Florida to put her on the market. When cruising, always carry spares, even a spare yacht if you have to, ..... right.

Another classic wooden yacht came into the anchorage. This one built in Germany in 1956 and totally re-planked by its present owner using white oak. It too, has travelled far and wide, and with a name like "FAITH JONES", would not be easy to forget. The original hold in this 30 ton motor-sailer is now a very large saloon with 'Pullman' type double bunks, on both sides of the saloon. Wide decks too, for easy lounging, dancing and general partying. Once again I caught the Queen in the wet bushes amongst the frangipani flowers............ sure keeps me on my toes...

SVEA in the sunset. The thunderstorms come through most afternoons, and when they clear at dusk, the evenings and the nights are tranquil and still, and the sunsets are spectacular. The one on the right is for Gerry, a faithful follower, who requested less rainshots and more sunsets................. though the rest of you can double click on it too. All our photos are double-clickable (is that a new word?).

And to my son REM, and others..... Happy Father's Day.


Rem, Jane and Kids said...

thanks pops and likewise!

Orpailleur said...

Beautiful sunsets guys - makes me want to buy a boat (plastic, not wood).
Keep it up.